By Imani Wj Wright, Special to the AFRO
While spending time in both Baltimore and D.C. last week, there was one question I consistently heard being asked amongst folk- in barbershops, my neighborhood, restaurants I was attending, etc.. Maybe you even found yourself last week asking someone: “Are you going to Howard’s Homecoming?” Howard University is one of the top ranked schools in the country as far as education goes but there Homecoming is also historically known to be top notch.
Howard University’s Homecoming Yardfest brought out current students, alumni and HBCU appreciators alike for the annual concert, party and festival. (Photo by Lucas Ballard)
The energy that Howard’s Homecoming created on Oct. 11 proliferated through the nearby streets of Washington, D.C. Parking was scarce, roads were blocked off, Ubers were struggling to find drop off spots, but nonetheless, people walked towards Howard’s Yard with great levels of enthusiasm and exuberance.
Friday, Howard had their Annual International Yardfest, a free, outdoor concert that takes place on campus. This year, the lineup for Yardfest was kept a secret, though some acts on the lineup were rumored and leaked leading up to the show. David P. Bennet, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at Howard University, stated: “The rumors begin in early summer and grow in size right until the night before the event. This time, we are purposefully deciding to keep the audience in suspense.”
“The Yard” was packed with alumni, fraternities, sororities, and a slew of sponsors such as Hulu, Pepsi, and 300 Entertainment. There was truly not a dull space in sight. Almost every inch of the yard was being occupied with fraternity stepping, prize games, and not to mention the full fledged concert that was happening on stage. Radio personalities QuickSilva was on the 1s and 2s, for a majority of the event, along with 93.9’s, Little Bacon Bear, making a guest appearance. The stardom didn’t stop there as artist/actor Dave East, rapper Saweetie, and BET’s Best New Hip-Hop artist DaBaby all performed as well. The crowd began to become even more vibrant as the day went by and the audience expanded in size with DaBaby closing out the event.
During my time on the yard, I had the opportunity to ask some attendees: “Why is Howard’s Homecoming important?” Lindsey, a sophomore at Howard responded: “Howard’s Homecoming is really important because it’s time for the entire Howard community, students and alums to come together, connect, and have a great time all weekend.”
Howard University’s Homecoming Yardfest. (Photo by Lucas Ballard)
Sean, a Howard alum told the AFRO, “It’s always great to see the people. I haven’t been back in 15 years, this is quite an experience… it’s always important to come reconnect with your school, reconnect with people, and reconnect with friends.”
Iconic artist Kanye West, and platinum selling artist Swae Lee visited Howard’s campus the next day as a welcomed surprise for students. Early Saturday morning, West did his famous pop-up service.